817.00/7953: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Nicaragua (Lane)

15. Your 67, February 24, 6 p.m. As Wilson explained to you, there are other issues involved. The Central American countries are planning to hold a conference soon53 at which they will discuss whether [Page 539] to continue the principle of non-recognition. Costa Rica and El Salvador are apparently doubtful as to the advisability of continuing this principle. If the United States were now to make a public declaration of its support of the principle this would inevitably be interpreted—or misinterpreted—as an effort to influence the deliberations of the conference. As you know, the United States is maintaining a hands off policy regarding the conference and considers that the Central American states in holding this conference should deal with such matters as they desire to discuss entirely on their own responsibility. Furthermore, it has for many years been said that the United States has sought to impose its own views upon the Central American states, and that to this end it has not hesitated to interfere or intervene in their affairs. This criticism has been made particularly in regard to our relations with Nicaragua. We therefore desire not only to refrain in fact from any interference, but also from any measure which might seem to give the appearance of such interference.

Your suggestion of a public statement is made, as we understand it, with two objectives in mind: (a) to avoid disorders, and (b) to scotch the malicious rumors that the United States is in some way implicated in the Sandino affair and favors Somoza for the presidency. As regards (a) you have already been authorized to tell Somoza (concerning whose loyalty there was apparently at first some apprehension) that our policy has not been modified. If this statement on your part is ineffective it is difficult to see that a public statement would have much more force in dissuading him from a movement against the Government. (The information contained in your 69 and 70 indicate encouraging developments in this regard.) As concerns (b), the ignorant and irresponsible individuals who circulate such rumors would, in our judgment, not only fail to understand the significance of a public statement on our part, but might conceivably misinterpret or twist its meaning in such a way as to cause further embarrassment.

We are fully alive to the reasons which have prompted your recommendation and have carefully considered them, but hope that you will appreciate our point of view as set out above.

  1. For correspondence concerning the Central American Conference held March 15 to April 12, 1934, see vol. iv, pp. 423 ff.